Police seek 2 who wounded pizza driver

Woman was robbed, shot after delivery in Harper's Choice

January 05, 1999|By Del Quentin Wilber | Del Quentin Wilber,SUN STAFF

A pizza delivery driver who was robbed and shot Friday in Harper's Choice has been released from a hospital, and Howard County police continued searching yesterday for the two men who lured the woman and a male co-worker to an apartment complex.

Police are seeking two black males, ages 18 to 22. One is between 6-feet-1 and 6-feet-3 and was described as wearing a dark coat and dark hat. The other is about 5-feet-9, police said.

About 7 p.m. Friday, a man called Papa John's on Harper's Farm Road and placed an order totaling $81.05.

When the employees reached the basement apartment, they were forced into a laundry room, police said. The robbers, who stole $40, took the employees to the parking lot, police said, and tried to abduct them in the victims' car.

Delivery driver Martha Lunsford, 30, then yelled for help and tried to flee, police said, but a gunman forced the woman to her knees and shot her in the jaw. Lunsford was treated and released from a hospital over the weekend.

The robbery might have been averted, police said, if Papa John's employees had followed procedures to verify the order. After taking the customer's phone number, an employee called back but no one answered, police said.

That's because the employee was calling a number at a pay phone at a local gas station, police said.

"They called back, got no answer but delivered it anyway," said a police official, who requested anonymity. "If you can't verify an $81 order, why deliver it? It was poor judgment."

A manager at Papa John's said he didn't know enough of the details about Friday's robbery to comment.

In response to several similar robberies, police issued guidelines in November to protect drivers. They mailed that advice to Papa John's, police said.

Those procedures include limiting cash, verifying all telephone orders and having customers leave their exterior lights on for drivers.

Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to call detectives at 410-313-4760 or 410-313-3700.

To request crime prevention tips, call 410-313-4780.

Pub Date: 1/05/99

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